Capital, Connections and Strategic Opportunities
Lift Women Entrepreneurs
By Darian Ward
In order to turn your passion into a profession, sometimes it takes a daredevil. We found six female entrepreneurs who are navigating the arduous path fraught with miss-steps, land mines and financial mirages. For our undaunted, fast-learning and strategy-focused females, their goal in 2015 is to break through to that million dollar Golden Stiletto Club.
Across the board, less than 4-percent of women business owners generate annual revenues of more than $1 million and if you drill down further, a full 96-percent of firms are non-employer companies with average receipts of $15,618. How do we transform the way women think about running a business?
The perfect backdrop for innovation and disruption is Houston which is one of the top cities for millionaire growth. An obvious role model is Mayor Annise Parker who runs a $6 billion “corporation,” she’s a former entrepreneur and staunch supporter of women business owners. Don’t forget, during her administration, over the last five years more than $1 billion in contracts have been awarded to small businesses.
We’re launching an experiment, with the help of the coolest mentors and an accountability coach, our six female entrepreneurs will put Houston’s #1 label of “millionaire maker” to the test. Our entrepreneurs are ready to get off the sidelines and into the game and were nominated by several business organizations including: WBEA, HTC, HMSDC, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Women Contractors Association, NAWBO, Goldman Sachs and City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity. And I was serious about being a daredevil, in fact, three of us went skydiving with Mayor Parker and her executive staff in January to kick off our “Year of Living Fearlessly.” Check out our entrepreneurs.
(l to r): Paola Contrera; Mayor Annise Parker; Darian Ward and Dr. La Tisha Rowe
Lydia Evans has a unique product line which promotes skin care for men. SWAG (Soaps, Washes And Grooming) Essentials’ “flagship” product, the SWAG Bar, cleanses, exfoliates & disinfects the skin while working up a rich lather. You might have caught her on the ABC hit series “Shark Tank” last year and the orders are still pouring in. www.swagessentials.com
Paola Contrera’s passion for fashion developed early in life while playing dress up in her mother’s closet. Her first clothing label, Inclan Studio launched in the fall of 2013. She will release her next collection in April. www.inclanstudio.com
Dr. Latisha Rowe heads an online medical (telemedicine) practice serving the newly insured population under the Affordable Care Act. Offline services include innovative and interactive corporate wellness programs using evidence based reward systems. www.clickitclinic.com
Summer Worden is CEO of Filly Intelligence, an advisory firm focused on bringing an innovative and proficient approach to client solutions in the areas of operations, security programs, and comprehensive risk for the oil & gas, and financial industries. www.fillyusa.com.
Victoria Lara and her family own Impact Stone Designs. Working together with the most prestigious designers & architects, Impact Stone Designs creates the most sophisticated stone work including: countertops, hand-crafted fireplaces, wall veneers, and tile flooring. They have a large contract at Hobby Airport. www.impactstonedesign.com
And Katie Mehnert is the CEO of Pink Petro, a social networking group which focuses on women in energy. As a ‘People Engineer’, she enables energy companies to cut through waste, deliver value and focused solutions to operational challenges. Katie has held global leadership and consultancy roles at BP, Shell, Waste Management, Entergy, and Enron. www.pinkpetro.com
There are several strategies behind the project which include:
- Securing Ample Capital
- Networking with Mentors & Key Connections
- Focusing on Exponential Growth
Identifying Business Opportunities in the Pipeline
We’ll keep you updated on the progress of our female entrepreneurs and will give you plenty of opportunities to support them. Remember, the success of one woman is an inspiration for another and we hope you are inspired to make bold, strategic business moves in 2015. Make sure you catch their interviews on my monthly series “Press Pass to the City” which airs on HTV and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Television and radio veteran, Darian Ward—Living fearlessly!
Photo credit: Grady Carter